Chui-Joe Tham


tham chui joe pic






Chui-Joe Tham

DPhil candidate, Faculty of History



Chui-Joe Tham graduated from Oxford with a BA in History in 2016, and an MPhil in Traditional East Asia in 2018. She is currently undertaking a DPhil in History, on the topic of the Ming-Qing transition as it was written about in unofficial, contemporary history in seventeenth-century China, Korea, and Japan. As part of this research, she is working on a range of narrative records in classical Chinese and classical Japanese, both transcribed and in manuscript form (including in early modern Japanese palaeography). She was a co-organiser of a graduate and ECR conference in 2021, on the theme of ‘Writing the Supernatural into History’. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, learning languages, and playing the koto.

DPhil topic

‘The Ming-Qing Transition and Unofficial, Contemporary Historiography in China, Korea, and Japan’

The Ming-Qing transition (1618-1683), a dynastic upheaval that not only consumed much of China, but also saw the Qing invasion of Joseon Korea and an influx of refugees into Tokugawa Japan, was memorialised by writers across East Asia. Unofficial histories written by Ming and early Qing subjects made their way by land and sea to Korea and Japan. They were then either adapted for domestic audiences, or used as the basis for new unofficial histories of the dynastic transition. Scholars have examined the circulation of news and information about the Ming-Qing transition regionally and globally, as well as the impact of trends in the late Ming information order and the eventual Qing conquest on Japanese and Korean conceptions of a Sinocentric world order.  

Chui-Joe Tham’s dissertation will change the focus from both news history, and early modern conceptions of a Sinocentric world order, to the significance of history as an informal, transnational genre of communication in seventeenth-century East Asia. Within the context of an emerging culture of contemporaneity, writers in China, Japan, and Korea sought to produce private, non-state-commissioned accounts of recent events to meet an increased demand for knowledge about recent events not only within the borders of their own polity, but beyond them. As such, these writers, who hailed from a range of socio-economic backgrounds, and wrote in a variety of classical and vernacular registers, contributed to the formation of a multi-vocal and multi-lingual archive of memory.